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article imageOp-Ed: Afghan Taliban seek Pakistani aid in restarting peace talks

By Ken Hanly     Oct 4, 2019 in Politics
Islamabad - Senior Afghan Taliban officials have visited the Pakistan capital of Islamabad to discuss the stalled Afghan peace talks with Pakistani officials. They hope that Pakistan will aid in restarting the talks with the US.
Pakistan also calls for talks to resume
A recent MSN article notes: "Senior Afghan Taliban leaders and Pakistani officials on Thursday called for the resumption of talks on a peaceful resolution to the war in Afghanistan. The appeal, made during a rare Taliban visit to Islamabad, comes after months-long US-Taliban negotiations collapsed in September and President Trump announced the talks with the insurgents were ‘‘dead.’’ The timing of the Taliban visit — which coincided with that of Washington’s special peace envoy for Afghanistan, who was also in Islamabad on Thursday for ‘‘consultations’’ with Pakistani officials — appears to indicate Pakistan is seeking to help restart the talks. "
The Pakistan Foregin Ministry also issued a statement saying that they agreed with the Taliban that the talks should resume as soon as possible.
Trump's position
A Sept. 9 article notes that after calling off a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David Trump said of the peace talks: "They are dead, they are dead. As far as I'm concerned, they are dead...They thought they had to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position. When I heard, very simply, that they killed one of our soldiers and 12 other innocent people, I said 'There is no way I'm meeting on that basis. There is no way I’m meeting.' They did a mistake. And by the way they are telling people they made a big mistake. They are saying it loud and clear that they made a big mistake."
The decision is surprising in that Trump had campaigned for president on the promise he would get the US out of the Afghanistan war which has lasted now about 18 years, the longest war ever for the US. The peace talks had progressed to the point where there was an agreement in principle even though both sides had continued attacks during the progress. The attacks did not stop a successful agreeement in principle being reached.
Trump seems to have emphasized the killing of one US soldier as a reason to reject the deal. That this should make all the difference seems to give the killing of one US soldier an unreasonable weight in deciding to ditch the deal. However, Trump's foreign policy has been consistently inconsistent. After firing John Bolton a major hawk in his administration Trump is carrying on doing exactly what hawks in his administration want. Trump has said that the Taliban will probably never recover from their loss of standing with the US.
Perhaps the US will never recover from the continuation of a war that has now gone for 18 years with the Taliban exercising power in a considerable amount of the country and contesting much more. Both sides have upped their activity since the peace talks failed. While Trump appears not to have completely ruled out peace talks neither has he made any move to restart them. It is not clear on what basis they would restart except to finish the details on what was already an agreement in principle that Trump has already rejected.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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